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Grouper season opens on the 15th.
By DAVE MISTRETTA
Published March 8, 2007
Grouper season opens on the 15th: We are counting the days before the federal waters open back up for grouper. All depths from 45 feet out are holding fish, which is a normal occurrence for a spring migration. Decent concentrations moved to about 50 feet just before the closure and seem to be holding up. This migration will be a welcomed sight for many because red tide limited the amount of grouper in shallower depths. We will be able to catch grouper for the rest of the month and not have to travel far from the coast. The timing could not be more perfect especially because fuel prices are starting to creep back up, making boating more expensive.
Bait schools: Bait seems to be abundant at all depths. You can find Spanish sardines, cigar minnows and blue runners from 60 feet. These schools will move closer to shore as the month goes on. Expect to find the 10-mile artificial reefs holding these and other baits over the next two weeks. Behind all the bait will be kingfish, Spanish mackerel, bonito cobia sharks and many others.
Water temperatures: The temperature of the water dictates the timing of these migration patterns. Normally, mid March is when we start to see it all bust loose. A perfect temperature is 70 degrees. As soon as the mercury levels hit that point, you will see a different group of predator fish migrate our way. They normally stay for a few days, feed then move up the coast. Behind them, another group will arrive, adding new action to each day. These arrivals last well into May, making each week a new and exciting adventure.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call 727 595-3276, e-mail email@example.com or see jawstoo.com.
For today's tides chart, see the weather package on 2A, or online at outdoors.tampabay.com.